WWE: Why Roman Reigns is the Next Top Guy

Bruno Sammartino. Hulk Hogan. Steve Austin. Goldberg. Shawn Michaels. The Rock. John Cena. Roman Reigns? When you look at Roman Reigns in that long list of legends it does look rather strange. Roman Reigns is a force to be reckoned with in modern WWE but to be included in that list at this stage of his development? Please. When you examine all the superstars above you’ll see that each one of those guys could make a claim to being “the” guy in WWE. They were as the authority likes to say “the face” of WWE. Love them or loathe them those names are people who have transcended being a mere WWE superstar and have achieved legendary status becoming known worldwide.

In 2014 with current WWE face John Cena fast approaching 40 years of age and with a long nagging list of injuries it has never been more important for WWE to look to the future. With the style of most of the talent today as well as the brutal travel schedule that comes along with it, many in WWE are becoming injured more often and the fact is there aren’t that many people who are able to step up and carry the company in the way that John Cena has been doing for the better part of the decade. This is why WWE has turned to Roman Reigns to make him the “next” John Cena. But is he quite ready for the task?

Roman Reigns made his WWE television debut alongside long-time indie scene standouts Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. Making an impactful debut the trio WWE dubbed “The Shield” laid out number one contender to the WWE Championship Ryback allowing then Champion CM Punk to retain the title. It was clear from the manner of which WWE booked the group that they were going to be a big deal in the months to come. No one quite knew how big a deal at the time but over the coming weeks WWE top brass gave the trio every chance to shine. The Shield continued their path of domination on WWE’s roster even roughing up no bigger a star than The Rock before taking on Ryback and Team Hell No at the TLC pay per view in an all war. This was a fantastic contest and one of the best matches of 2012. Within just a few short weeks each member of The Shield had begun to make an incredible impression on the WWE audience.

What was interesting is that when the group started to gain momentum, the tide began to change ever so slightly. The one person WWE originally had their eye on in the group was Dean Ambrose and he seemed to more and more take a back seat to our man Roman Reigns. Given his size and physique he seems like your prototypical WWE choice for a headliner but, yet to give the big man his due he never once looked out of depth in multi-person matches and carried his end with no issues to report.

The Shield continued to dominate the roster before running into a white hot Daniel Bryan who handed the trio their first televised loss as a 6 person unit in June of 2013. The loss didn’t harm the group and their powerful aura remained intact. Survivor Series saw WWE show the world its future plans for Reigns by having him defeat four opponents of the opposite team as well as being the sole survivor. What’s more important is that he looked damn impressive in doing so. The Royal Rumble continued this trend and it became clear to all by this point that WWE saw Reigns as something special. Reigns set a record that night for all time eliminations in the Rumble bout at 12 before being the last person eliminated by a returning Batista.

The Survivor Series and Royal Rumble treatment demonstrated WWE’s commitment to the Roman Reigns push and it was now clear to even the audience that they saw him as the next guy to inherit the keys to the kingdom, so to speak. Without question he is in an enviable position at the moment given his skill level. Just over a few years ago he wasn’t even a wrestler. He was training for a pro-football (American Football) career. You could make the argument that he is the “Batista” of The Shield as when Evolution started everyone looked at Randy Orton as the next generation break out star. But when Orton got injured they saw his potential (at least for then) so they moved on to plan b which was Batista. There are a lot of comparisons that one can draw between Big Dave and Roman Reigns. Batista wasn’t the most skilled wrestler at the time he started to receive his push but what distinguished him from the rest of the roster was his incredible physique, power moves and opposing the number 1 heel on the roster. Sound familiar?

There is no question that Reigns isn’t a “Shawn Michaels” type wrestler and that he is more the “John Cena” type. Reigns doesn’t have the most varied skill-set in the world and his promos are definitely not lighting the world on fire. But yet if you take a look at the list of legends I provided in the introduction not all those guys were the total package when they started. However what was important is that they were different. They each possessed some quality that not every other member of the active roster had. More importantly they had the backing of the audience. Yes you could say that eventually after many, many years fan opinion began to change particularly when you look at the likes of Hulk Hogan and John Cena, but the key there is that took years. Reigns is currently in the middle of his ascension and has crowd support in abundance. His Goldberg-like setup “The Superman Punch” got him over and his retaining of The Shield’s walk through the crowd entrance makes him seem a man of the people.

Once again he isn’t the most skilled worker on the roster but when you think about it he doesn’t have to be. Yeah sure most of the all time greats were well rounded. However when you look at the names of those guys like Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, The Rock, etc they competed in a different generation. They had other places in which they could practice and hone their skills. The Roman Reigns of the world don’t have that luxury any more. They can work with NXT and WWE small town live events before pay per views and live Raws, etc but it is all still within the WWE system. Given his lack of experience you have to give Reigns some credit for learning as fast as he has done. John Cena is getting old and his act is beyond stale. There has never been more of a cry out for fresh blood. Given that WWE is doing more to make Brock Lesnar a super heel than they have ever done it only seems right that the guy that eventually defeats him and gets his crowning achievement is someone who is going to carry the company for years to come. We all thought that moment would come courtesy of The Streak at Wrestlemania, however that defeat of future Hall of Famer The Undertaker may be salvaged. By transferring the power of that loss onto Brock Lesnar then the guy defeating him will become the saviour of the people. The new face of WWE. Time will tell if Reigns is ready but it is looking like Brock Lesnar’s time as WWE World Heavyweight Champion won’t last forever. His time is up. Roman Reigns’ time is now.

Let me know in the comments section what your opinions are

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